A hearing to determine if two adult entertainment clubs will continue to operate in Forest Park has been set for Oct. 20, said officials at Monday night’s regular City Council meeting.
Attorney T. Michael Martin was appointed last month to act as hearing officer on behalf of the city. Forest Park City Attorney Robert Mack said, at the time, that he expects videotaped evidence to be presented against the clubs, Pink Pony South and Crazy Horse Saloon.
The hearing will be open to the public, but City Manager John Parker said because of the graphic nature of the evidence, no one under 18 will be admitted to the proceedings. The hearing will start at 9 a.m., in council chambers at Forest Park City Hall.
The clubs opened years ago as adult entertainment centers, commonly referred to as “strip clubs.” However, the status of both clubs changed in January after the Forest Park City Council passed a new city ordinance in March 2010.
"The council voted at that time that you couldn’t have nudity and alcohol in the same room,” said Parker. “They can have an adult entertainment license, or an alcohol license, but not both. So, they picked alcohol license and decided to serve food.”
Attorney Aubrey Villines represents both clubs, and said the hearing amounts to little more than harassment. He took issue with Parker’s assertion that if club workers followed the city ordinances, “They’d never see us.”
“The comment is laughable,” said Villines. “We generally see them daily and do abide by the ordinances, but they continue to constantly harass us. We even had a major on the police force come in after hours, and when asked what he was doing, told the manager that he wanted to test his flashlight. Harassment.”
Parker recused himself from involvement in the hearing, because he has been named a defendant in previous lawsuits filed on behalf of the clubs. He encouraged the mayor and councilmembers to attend the hearing, but told them they would have no input on the outcome.
Villines called the recusal “hypocritical,” because councilmembers voted on the appointment of Martin, a former Forest Park City Judge.
"It is hypocritical that the city manager would recuse himself because he is a defendant, and then ask the city council, who are also defendants, to appoint a former Forest Park Municipal Judge to have a fair and impartial hearing,” said Villines. “If the city manager recuses himself because he is a defendant, should not the city council recuse themselves for the same reason?”
Parker said Martin could revoke or suspend the alcohol and/or business licenses of the clubs, or take no action at all.
In other action Monday night, Keep Forest Park Beautiful Director Edie Yongue presented beautification awards to a business and a residence. Mary Shikany, who is hearing-impaired, and her mother, Joanne Shikany, accepted the residence award and a sign for their yard, which will be displayed for two months.
“It’s very exciting, I just can’t believe it,” Mary Shikany signed to her mother, who interpreted.
Joanne Shikany said the family has been in the same Forest Park home for 49 years, and they take great pride in their lawn. “We keep it groomed and neat and clean,” she said. “We have flowers of some type throughout the whole year. Mary does most all of the work herself.”
Landscaper Ira Marshall accepted the business award on behalf of Green Expectations and the work done on commercial property owned by Betty Patton. The property, a business complex behind City Hall, will also display a yard sign for two months.
“Words can’t say enough for the recognition the City of Forest Park has given Green Expectations Landscape Co., for helping to keep a city already beautiful, even nicer,” said Marshall. “Let’s keep the relationship growing between the City of Forest Park and Green Expectations healthy and prosperous.”